Treefalls and the Coexistence of Conifers in Subalpine Forests of the Central Rockies
Data on age and size of trees, frequencies of fallen trees, growth rates of trees, and sizes and abundance of individuals in treefall gaps were collected in 7 old growth stands in the Colorado Front Range. The data were analysesd to determine differences in replacement patterns and frequencies of treefalls for Abies lasiocarpa and Picea engelmannii. In 125 treefall gaps, A. lasiocarpa accounted for 74.5% of potential successors. The greater recruitment of A. lasiocarpa into the canopy was balanced approx. by its greater loss from the canopy. A. lasiocarpa accounted for only 37% of the canopy, but 76% of fallen trees. The lower frequency of treefalls and greater longevity of P. engelmannii make it unlikely that A. lasiocarpa will gradually replace the spruce. Results provide support for the coexistence of ecologically similar species through different life history strategies.
Veblen, T. (1986). Treefalls and the coexistence of conifers in subalpine forests of the central Rockies. Ecology, 67(3): 644-649.